Don’t shop for homes without an agent

Go ahead and look all around online for pictures of beautiful homes, but when it comes down to actually going around to find homes, get an agent. An agent will know exactly how to negotiate around the home-buying process the best way to get the most out of your money and time.

Don’t meet with just one mortgage lender 

The next step after finding an agent: you’ll need to get pre approved for a loan through a mortgage lender. A mortgage lender will need a large amount of paperwork including two years of W2s, two years of tax returns, proof of funds for a down payment, and more. There is a lot more paperwork where that came from!

Start with 3 quotes from different lenders to get an idea of scope in the lending business. You can also have a mortgage broker work that for you, taking your information to a bunch of lenders and to find the best deal for you rather than you doing it yourself. Richard Redmond, a vice president at ACM Investor Services in Larkspur says, "You want a lender who asks probing questions, listens to your answers, and presents you with intelligent options.”

Don’t downplay your budget

If you aren’t honest with your agent, they can’t be honest with you. Let your agent know your fears and your budget or else they can’t help you. If you ile about your budget, the agent, and you, will waste time wading through homes that may not fit what you’re looking for.

Don’t lowball too low

Putting together an absurdly low offer can offend the seller and offending the seller is a death wish on your offer. Trust your agent from the get go, let them know you want to lowball and ask their opinion on how low you should go.

Don’t forget about closing costs

While your lender may be able to give you a good idea of what closing costs will look like, you should budget anywhere from 2-7% of the house’s total cost. The seller will chip in some money, but always hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Don’t make big purchases before close

Once your offer is accepted, your loan still needs to go to an underwriter who will look at your credit score to make sure it hasn’t changed since you began your search. Purchasing a new car or applying for credit cards will affect your credit score so just wait a little bit longer!

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